MITI Program for Advanced Information Infrastructure

Program for Advanced Information Infrastructure

Ministry of International Trade and Industry

May 1994

Table of Contents Preface

  1. Summary of June 1993 Report by Information Industry Committee of Industrial Structure Council, and Subsequent Developments
  2. Purpose and Content of this Program
  3. Need for Comprehensive Government Program

Chapter 1 - The Emerging Image of the Advanced Information Society

  1. General
  2. Dissemination of Advanced Information Technology into Industry
  3. Dissemination of Advanced Information Technology into Homes
  4. Dissemination of Advanced Information Technology into Public Sector
  5. Impact of Disseminating Advanced Information Systems
  6. Networks for Advanced Information Infrastructure Society
Chapter 2 - Desirable Basic Policy Directions for Realizing the Advanced Information Society
  1. General
  2. Information Technology in Five Public Sectors
  3. Improvement of Environment for Realizing Advanced Information Society
  4. Improvement of Environment for Providing High- Grade Contents and Applications


Preface

Summary of June 1993 Report by Information Industry Committee of Industrial Structure Council, and Subsequent Developments In June 1993, the Information Industry Committee of the Industrial Structure Council issued a report stating the following:

A. In the current situation in which the principal means of generating economic value has shifted from manufacturing to intellectual activity and the value of human resources is becoming increasingly diverse, the sophistication and enhanced productivity of intellectual activities are essential to achieve further economic development and higher standards of living, while at the same time overcoming major issues such as those related to the global environment and aging of the population.

B- Although the sophistication of intellectual activities and enhanced productivity are possible with the rapid development of information and communications technologies, such as progress in the fields of multimedia and networking, information technology is not being fully exploited in Japan.

C- To encourage the effective use of information technology, the government should implement various policies including (a) promoting the use of information technology in the public sector, particularly in the areas of research, education, and administration; (b) fostering an environment conducive to the dissemination of information technology led by the private sector, through the establishment of adequate security measures, standardization, and the reappraisal and modification of institutional frameworks in response to the spread of information technology; and (c) promoting the development of basic technologies forming the foundation of the advanced information system.

Since the release of the report, the government as a whole has become well aware of the importance of information technology, and policies have been noticeably redirected toward promoting such technology. In particular, MITI and other ministries and agencies involved in this area have demonstrated their commitment to the dissemination of information technology in their activities listed in the supplementary FY1993 budget and the draft FY1994 budget for specific policy in FY1994, while the Telecommunication Work Group, Administration Reform Task Force has started to review the regulatory framework for the purpose of implementing information-related policies in a comprehensive and systematic manner. In the private sector, various efforts are being made to disseminate information technology, including experiments to integrate communications and CATV, against the backdrop of the global trend to promote such technology and government's actions for deregulation in the communications and broadcasting fields.

On a global level, various countries have also declared their commitment to the active promotion of information technology as a key to improving productivity and developing new industries, such as the National Information Infrastructure (NII) proposed in the U.S. or the Trans- European Network (TEN) Plan announced in Europe.

Purpose and Content of this Program The purpose of this program is to clearly define MITI's concept of the directions that the advanced information infrastructure society should take, and to propose specific policy programs for each field in which information technology is being promoted in cooperation with the related ministries, based on the recognition that in the development of the new trend, the promotion of information technology has evolved from a simple vision to the stage of actual implementation.

Chapter 1 of this program describes specific short- and medium-term prospects for the industrial, household, and public sectors, respectively, in order to present a detailed outlook for the dissemination of information technology in these sectors. This is carried out on the basis of the outlook announced in the new market creation program in February 1994, which was an outcome of broad-based discussions on the advanced information society. Chapter 1 also outlines a desirable form of networking, which is necessary for the building of an advanced information systems.

Chapter 2 presents basic concepts in relation to the role of the government, as well as basic assumptions regarding policy making and specific policies for various efforts to develop an environment for the dissemination of information technology in the public sector as well as the private sector, together with an environment that can ensure a supply of high-quality information and applications. These aspects are being implemented by MITI in cooperation with the related ministries. Among them, with regard to the development of an infrastructure for the dissemination of information technology and the provision of high- quality information and applications, detailed objectives and the contents of measures currently being implemented, which are financed in the FY1993 supplementary budget and the draft budget for FY1994 in accordance with the recommendations of the Industrial Structure Council, are described.

Moreover, deregulation in the information and communications fields is considered to be a major pillar in developing an environment for the dissemination of information technology in the private sector, and the report of the Advisory Group for Economic Structural Reform recommends that such deregulation be pursued as a priority objective. In recognition of this, the Telecommunication Working Group, Administration Reform Task Force is studying concrete measures. It is hoped that the working group will formulate recommendations that can be effectively implemented.

In addition to the measures suggested in this program, there are many other related measures to promote the dissemination of information technology such as technological development activities, but the program mainly focuses on measures on the demand side. With regard to measures for the information industry including technological development, discussions are being held by the Basic Issues Subcommittee of the Industrial Structure Council as part of a study on the prospects for industrial structures and on policy agendas.

Need for Comprehensive Government Program Since measures for the promotion of information technology are related to numerous ministries and, as indicated in the report of the Advisory Group for Economic Structural Reform (Hiraiwa Report) issued in 1993, should be implemented in a comprehensive and systematic manner, an information technology promotion program such as this one needs to be planned and established with the participation of all the ministries involved.

It is hoped that this program will serve as the starting point for government-wide implementation, and that it will help to establish and implement the measures concerned by presenting a specific image of and policies for the advanced information system to both the public and the entire governmental organization.



Chapter 1 - The Emerging Image of the Advanced Information Infrastructure Society

General As a result of rapid technological advancements in the information and communications fields in recent years, the advanced information infrastructure society has evolved from the realm of possibility toward becoming a reality in the near future. Although drawing a clear overall image of the advanced information infrastructure society is difficult at present, the simplest definition is that the significant decrease in costs of information transmission and processing, along with major reductions in time and space constraints related to information, will allow everyone to obtain, process, and transmit information equally in the advanced information infrastructure society.

In such a society, the dissemination of information technology will progress differently in the first-generation information society, where high-speed processing of routine work and labor-saving are promoted through centralized information processing, and the second-generation information society, which will center around networking within specific groups of companies, such as vendors and buyers. It will be a new type of information environment characterized by the pervasiveness of personal computers, the merchandising of information through networking of PCs, the digitalization of all information, and the diffusion of information terminals to the general public through mass shipments of multimedia systems.

In the new information infrastructure society, anyone will ultimately be able to obtain and process information from anywhere in the world no matter where they are located, through a variety of media, and to easily transmit their own information to any point in the world. The pace of progress toward such a society, however, varies in the industrial, household, and public sectors according to the emergence of actual needs, cost trends, and development of application software.

Dissemination of Advanced Information Technology into Industry The dissemination of information technology should have significant effects on business and research activities by improving work efficiency and productivity. If such technology is proved to be feasible, companies and researchers will be willing to introduce it. In particular, the introduction of advanced information systems is proceeded rapidly in the following areas.

(1) Dissemination of advanced information technology into offices

A- Short-term prospects

Each worker will have a high-quality personal computer which is connected to other computers through a LAN, which, in turn, is connected to other LANs and databases. Furthermore, digitalization will enable the centralized processing of information on personal computers.

In the new information environment, the productivity of intellectual activities and non-routine work will be significantly improved through i) efficient collection and sharing of data and information, ii) efficient communication via electronic mail and other measures, and iii) efficient group work using groupware.

Access to LANs via radio will be widely available through the integration of wireless and computer technologies, this will bring about the expanded use of communications between workers on the move and their office via electronic mail, using mobile computing devices such as a portable terminals and portable personal computers. As a result, time and space restraints on office work will be substantially reduced.

(References): In the U.S., the use of personal computers in offices and the use of LANs and connection to external LANs has significantly progressed (the use of LANs as a percentage of the base of personal computers installed is 66% in the U.S. compared to 17% in Japan), and they are widely used for searching data bases, communicating via electronic mail, groupware applications, etc.

B- Medium- and long-term prospects

As the increased application of multimedia brings about greater utilization of video information, the use of video telephony, videoconferencing and electronic mail with images and sound, making use of LANs and personal computers, will be expanded and the efficiency of office work will be further improved.

(2) Advanced information technology for corporate manufacturing systems

A- Short-term prospects

By connecting remote bases for production, development and sales by network, information on demand or inventories of products at each point will be distributed on a real-time basis, and managerial decisions and production planning will be carried out more efficiently.

B- Medium- and long-term prospects

Utilizing the networks described above, the entire manufacturing system ranging from order processing, product development and design to production and distribution will be integrated into an intelligent manufacturing system (IMS). As production lines and process equipment are integrated under a single system, a flexible manufacturing system capable of responding to changes in demand and other factors will be established, and the global sharing of development and production resources will be attained. This will enable efficient manufacturing and management for the entire company.

(3) Advanced information technology in business transactions and product development

A- Short-term prospects

With the expanded interconnection of corporate LANs, EDI and electronic mail will be widely used and ordering and delivery of documents, which has been handled by hand delivery or mail up to now, will be performed through information networks. This will significantly reduce the time required and costs of such transactions and result in fewer errors, thereby improving corporate management. Moreover, the use of EDI for ordering will promote the simplification and enhanced efficiency of Japanese business practices, which is criticized as complicated and unclear.

(Note): EDI (Electronic Data Interchange): Exchange of data on transactions including ordering data between companies through computer networks

B- Medium- and long-term prospects

With the advancement of multimedia, the types of data transferred via networks will expand from text to image data such as design drawings and specifications. As advanced communications media such as electronic mail and videoconferencing become widely used, closer understanding of intentions and information sharing between companies will become possible and new types of business cooperation will be promoted.

(4) Advanced information technology in research

A- Short-term prospects

The introduction of high-performance workstations and supercomputers that can make some simulation will improve the efficiency and sophistication of research and development. The research sector is the leading user of Internet. With the further development of networking, communication and cooperation between researchers and information retrieval will be additionally advanced.

B- Medium- and long-term prospects

Accompanying the enhancement of the functions of computers and software available to researchers, the major approach in research will shift from experimentation to analysis by computer. It is hoped that the development of information data bases and simulation techniques will bring about a significant decrease in the costs and time required for research and development activities.

Dissemination of Advanced Information Technology into Homes As described above, advanced information technology will disseminate rapidly in the industrial sector following the principle of economic rationality, if the economic effects are greater than the costs involved. However, the introduction of information technology to homes is attainable only if consumers become used to the new forms of service apart from the issue of cost. If the costs are reduced, advanced utilization of information in this area will be rapidly realized, with increased demand for services providing one-way transmission of images such as video-on-demand and home shopping, or services utilizing packaged media including CD-ROM. On the other hand, for services which require high-speed and high-volume interactive data transmission such as remote medical services and remote education, a specific concept of the applications and their usefulness has still to take shape.

(1) Diversified choice of information

The promotion of information services will make diversified information meeting individual needs available at home.

A- Short-term prospects

Along with the diversification of information which is currently provided via networks, some information provided via other media including paper will also be transferred to networks.

(Examples) With the spread of CATV, multichannel broadcasting will be inaugurated and various programs meeting diverse interests and concerns will be provided. Movies, programs and games will be available at any time desired by viewers through video-on-demand and game-on-demand services. Electronic newspaper services will be established to complement conventional newspapers and provide more detailed information. Multimedia games and multimedia publications will increase accompanying the improvement and dissemination of digital packaged media including CD-ROM.

B- Medium- and long-term prospects

While information will be mainly selected from menus offered by each information service provider in the short term, in the medium and long term each home will be able to access electronic libraries and electronic museums around the world via networks, allowing users to readily search and obtain worldwide information on books and art based on their own particular interests.

(References): In the U.S., multichannel broadcasting is already in operation and many CATV and telecommunication operators are operating video-on-demand on an experimental basis. Electronic newspapers are also already in circulation for a limited number of readers. Electronic libraries and museums are at the stage of verifying development and demand through testing.

(2) New services utilizing information networks

With the proliferation of advanced information technology, services currently provided face-to-face will be provided via networks and advanced services will be available at home.

A- Short-term prospects

Services already being partly provided via telephone and television networks will become more diversified and advanced.

(Examples) Services in which consumers receive image data and respond accordingly, such as home shopping and home ticketing. Home security services. Remote education by one-way transmission of lectures

B- Medium- and long-term prospects

Various types of new interactive services, such as medical treatment and welfare services at home and remote education and learning, will be provided via networks and consumers will be able to use these services related to daily life at home without limitations of time.

However, these new services are based on different concepts from those of the respective conventional services. For example, whether remote education available at home will have the same level of effectiveness as traditional school education or whether there is demand for such a form of education has not been verified at present. Therefore, it is necessary to place priority on the development of attractive applications and clarification of the issues involved, such as the scale of real demand and the possibility of cost reductions to encourage an expansion of demand.

(References): In the U.S., these services are being actively commercialized and home shopping has been found to have strong potential. For other services, however, particularly interactive type services, the situation is still in the phase of research into the scale of demand through test operations.

(3) Increase of information sending from home

In the advanced information infrastructure society, the cost of sending information will be very low and individuals will be able to transmit information throughout the world.

A- Short-term prospects

Until now, the amount of information sent by individuals from their homes has been far less than that sent by companies. However, along with the spread of personal computers at home, the opinions and views of individuals will be readily transmitted from home to the world using Internet and personal computer communications.

(References): In the U.S., Internet and personal computer communications have already been widely introduced in homes and are in active use.

B- Medium- and long-term prospects

Information sent from homes will be mostly limited to text information in the short term, but with the development of multimedia, the opinions and views of individuals will be clearly expressed on personal computers at home using image, sound and text. This will unleash a wide range of communications, such as individuals producing video software and transmitting it to the world.

Dissemination of Advanced Information Technology into Public Sector Since the government is an important element of the economy and society, and public services provided by the government are essential for daily life, the dissemination of information systems in the public sector serves as a basis for the same process in the overall society. From an international point of view, the adoption of information technology by the public sector in Japan lags far behind and there is an urgent need for development in this field. The promotion of advanced information systems in the public sector should contribute to improvements in public service in terms of efficiency and effectiveness. The following are expected developments of the advanced information technology in the public sector. (Details are discussed in Chapter 2.)

[1] Education
The scope of education and learning will be extended beyond conventional teaching in classes, with students becoming able to access information from throughout the world. Remote education, joint learning with schools around the world and learning through imaginary experiences with interactive simulation will be available. As a result, more advanced and active styles of education will be realized on a practical level.

[2] Research
In national research institutions, accompanying the introduction of performance computers such as supercomputers, establishment of LANs, progress of high-speed research networks to connect them and upgrading research data bases both the efficiency of research and the level of technology will be improved.

[3] Medical and welfare services
Accompanying the development of networks between hospitals and medical data bases, doctors based in local communities will be able to examine and treat patients at hospitals and homes with the support and advice of specialists in the field. As welfare services at home using these networks become widely provided and the social participation of elderly people increases, a social environment will be created which makes the lives of elderly people easier.

[4] Public administration
A larger volume of publicly released administrative information such as statistics will be available through data bases and will be widely used by the private sector. Administrative management will be more efficient and advanced and administrative services will be automated with paperless work. As a result, administrative services will be higher in quality and more efficient.

[5] Libraries
Electronic data processing of documents in libraries and the global connection of libraries via networks will form an electronic library system in which documents are provided through networks. Users of the library will be able to use intellectual properties stored in different locations throughout the world.

Impact of Disseminating Advanced Information Systems

The transformation to an advanced information infrastructure society should bring about significant changes in all industries and economic activities as well as in people's daily lives.

That is, many new businesses will emerge in the information and communications industries as well as other existing industries (see References), and both quality and productivity will be upgraded in all industries through improved productivity in intellectual activities.

Moreover, as limitations on information in terms of time and distance will be substantially reduced, disparities in the sending and receiving of information between urban and local areas should be corrected and the revitalization of rural areas should be promoted. At home, the volume of information that individuals can receive and send will increase noticeably and this will make a major contribution to the promotion of a society filled with life-enriching resources.

[figure deleted: Prospects for Information- and Communications- Related Industries in New Market Creation Program]

Networks for Advanced Information Infrastructure Society

(1) General

Networks consist of devices connected through infrastructure such as computers and software. In the advanced information society, networks should have the following characteristics.

A- Networks formed by integrated telecommunications infrastructures to meet diversified needs and technological innovations

As described in this chapter, in the advanced information society it is expected that various applications will become available in each area, and that various types of information from text to images will be distributed and processed in a variety of forms. Therefore, the telecommunications infrastructures that form the basis for information distribution must meet diverse needs in terms of mobility, bandwidth (volume of transmissions and their scalability), direction (one-way or two-way), cost, and so on (Table 1).

On the providers' side, on the other hand, it will be technically feasible to provide various telecommunications infrastructures having specific characteristics in line with the rapid development of information and telecommunications technology. It is not a matter of one telecommunications infrastructure being superior to others in all respects; rather, they will evolve through functional sharing and competition to meet various needs of users (Figure 1).

The choice of telecommunications infrastructures that meet the needs of users will be further diversified by the advancement of application technologies, and this will stimulate competition between them.

(Examples)

With the development of video compression technology, the bandwidth needed for a telecommunications infrastructure will become narrower. As a result, users will be able to choose the level of compression and telecommunications infrastructure according to the costs involved and functions provided (Figure 2).

As materialized in Internet, user-owned devices such as computers will partly serve as the transmission and switching functions offered by telecommunications operators. As a result, users will be able to choose the combination of transmission functions offered by telecommunications operators and the users' own computers according to costs and functions.

[table 1 deleted: Examples of telecommunication infrastructure for various applications]

[figure 1 deleted: Future development of network infrastructures]

[figure 2 deleted: Video compression and telecommunications technology]

In the advanced information infrastructure society, it is desirable that an integrated environment be developed where various telecommunications infrastructures with specific characteristics are available and competing with each other, and where users can choose the one which meets their needs. Such an environment will be fostered through the development of telecommunications infrastructures, which will be realized through technological innovations made by private companies in continuous competition with each other over charges and functions (Figure 3, Source: OECD "Telecommunications and Broadcasting (1992)").

B- Seamless network

Seamlessness means the ability of users to be connected to all other users around the world and to share all information through the network without any obstruction due to differences in telecommunications infrastructure or connected devices. Seamlessness is therefore a highly important concept, and represents an essential characteristic of the network.

Until now, the primary role of the network has been to ensure that telecommunications infrastructures could be connected with each other and that signals could be transmitted smoothly between different infrastructures.

In the advanced information society, however, the network will go beyond the mere smoothing of signal transmissions. As materialized in Internet, which connects 2 million host computers around the world, users will be able to command an array of computers through their own computers, or computers connected by a telecommunications infrastructure will work together to process information. That is, a number of separate computers will work as if they were a single unit.

As various types of information (i.e., contents) such as publications, video, data, etc. are transformed into digital data and stored, such information will be accessible through networks as described above and shared by all people around the world.

To establish a seamless network, in addition to the connection of telecommunications infrastructures it is necessary to convert the information into interoperable digital data and to realized advanced mutual operation in which different types of computers work together to process information.

[figure 3 deleted: A 1990s vision of network evolution towards diversity]

Supplement : Concept of Infrastructures for Broadband Telecommunications

Based on the foregoing discussion, this section examines the current status and prospects of infrastructures for broadband telecommunications, which are increasing in importance.

A- Technical development of telecommunications infrastructures

Infrastructures for broadband telecommunications are divided into those for two-way telecommunications (symmetrical broadband telecommunications infrastructures) and those for one-way telecommunications (asymmetrical broadband telecommunications infrastructures). Technologies for each type of infrastructure are being developed as follows.

a. Infrastructures for two-way broadband telecommunications (Symmetrical broadband telecommunications infrastructure)

Among the infrastructures for two-way broadband telecommunications, B- ISDN, which consists of subscriber optical lines (optical fiber lines from the switching device to the subscriber) and ATM switching devices, is the most technically feasible. However, it should be understood that the following uncertain factors are associated with the field of B- ISDN.

With the future development of video compression technology it is expected that the bandwidths required for transmission will become smaller, thus allowing many applications to be transmitted by copper wire and radio.

Installation costs are expected to be significantly reduced (Figure 4).

The most appropriate form of telecommunications infrastructure from the switching station to the subscriber may vary in line with cost reductions or the purpose of telecommunications (Table 2).

Depending on the future directions of technical development, the economic effects of B-ISDN and video transmission networks using the same optical fiber lines or separate lines may vary (Table 3).

With the future development of radio technology, two-way broadband telecommunications infrastructures using the subscriber wireless network may have economic advantages over those using the subscriber optical fiber network.

[figure 4 deleted: Economic trend in optical networks]

[table 2 deleted: Types of installation for optical fiber subscriber line]

[table 3 deleted: Sharing of optical subscriber line by B-ISDN and video distribution]

b. Infrastructures for one-way broadband telecommunications infrastructures (Asymmetrical broadband telecommunications infrastructure)

Although infrastructures for one-way broadband telecommunications can be built with B-ISDN using the subscriber optical fiber network and ATM switching devices that are employed for two-way broadband telecommunications infrastructures, the following telecommunications infrastructures can also be applied. The advantages of each infrastructure may vary depending on future technical development and other factors.

- Digital CATV
- Digital satellite broadcasting
- Wireless cellular video transmission using microwave
- Video transmission through advanced use of copper wire telephone networks

B- Demand for and future development of telecommunications infrastructures

Based on the technical developments discussed above, the demand for and development of broadband telecommunications infrastructures in the industrial and household sectors can be described as follows.

a. Industrial sector

(a) Demand for telecommunications infrastructures The demand for broadband telecommunications infrastructures in the industrial sector is expected to increase substantially in the following areas.

- Connection of internal and external LANs For videoconferencing using PCs, video electronic mail, high-speed transmission of high-volume data such as design drawings, database searches, etc.
- Remote access to supercomputers for research, design, etc.

(b) Future development of telecommunications infrastructures In the areas mentioned above, it is necessary to build telecommunications infrastructures which can handle the two-way transmission of high- volume data at high speeds, and which allow data of various speeds (image data, text data, etc.) to be transmitted. At present, broadband ISDN using the subscriber optical fiber network and ATM switching devices is the most feasible technology in terms of providing both the features of broadband and scalability of transmission volume. However, private leased line services can also take advantage of such an infrastructure depending on the scale of transmission and user charges. Therefore, private operators should take the initiative in the competitive development of broadband ISDN on the basis of a wide range of considerations, such as changes in demand, technical advancements, and competition with other telecommunications infrastructures.

b. Household sector

Demand for broadband telecommunications infrastructures in the household sector is expected to occur in various areas. These areas are classified into two major categories; namely, demand for one-way broadband telecommunications from information providers to home users, and demand for two-way broadband telecommunications in which video can also be transmitted from homes.

(a) Demand for one-way broadband telecommunications infrastructures (Asymmetrical broadband telecommunications infrastructure)

The following are examples of applications for one-way broadband telecommunications infrastructures:

- Multichannel TV broadcasting
- Video-on-demand
- Games-on-demand
- Home shopping
- Home ticketing
- Electronic museums

The demand for these applications will significantly increase if they are offered at reasonable charges.

All of these applications require the function of transmitting video information and signals for the selection of video information from information providers to homes (Asymmetrical bandwidth).

(b) Demand for two-way broadband telecommunications infrastructures (Symmetrical broadband telecommunications infrastructure)

The following are examples of applications requiring two-way broadband telecommunications infrastructures:

- Remote education using video
- Medical treatment at home using video
- High-quality video telephony
- Transmission of multimedia works expressing the opinions of individuals

Among these applications, education and medical treatment are services that have been provided on a person-to-person basis so far, and the level of demand and other factors when they are provided through telecommunications systems have not been evaluated in detail. For high- quality video telephony and the transmission of multimedia information from homes, although demand can be expected in certain homes it is uncertain whether volume demand exists.

(c) Development of telecommunications infrastructures

As described above, in the household sector there is expected to be some demand for one-way broadband telecommunications infrastructures, but demand for two-way broadband telecommunications has not yet been verified. Also, considering the uncertainties regarding the direction of technologies for two-way broadband telecommunications infrastructures, the expected reductions in installation and maintenance costs, and the diversification of one-way broadband telecommunications infrastructures, it is difficult to determine the most appropriate telecommunications infrastructures and the timing of their development. Private companies should therefore build broadband telecommunications infrastructures with the technology and timing which are the most suitable for each assumed area of demand (Table 4).

c. Public sector

(a) Demand for telecommunications infrastructures The following are examples of applications which may require broadband telecommunications infrastructures in the public sector:

- Remote diagnosis by medical specialists using real-time high-definition video
- Super-high-speed research networks
- Remote education using video (school education, lifelong education)
- Provision of data including administrative information using video

Since these applications are still at the testing or planning phase, specific demand for each of them has not been verified. In the same manner as for the industrial and household sectors, the demand for telecommunications infrastructures in terms of bands, directions (one- way or two-way), scalability, etc. differs according to each application. Therefore, the form of telecommunications infrastructures required can be expected to vary depending on the applications selected by schools, hospitals, administrative agencies, etc.

(b) Development of telecommunications infrastructures Based on the above considerations, in the public sector it is important to verify the demand for various applications and to determine the directions in which advanced information systems will be promoted, and then, as a pioneering user, to select the most appropriate telecommunications infrastructures for each application from the various telecommunications services provided by private operators. The promotion of advanced information systems in the public sector is expected to contribute to the development of telecommunications infrastructures through the pioneering application of advanced telecommunications systems.

[table 4 deleted: Applications Using Broadband Network and Their Applicable Networks]



Chapter 2 - Desirable Basic Policy Directions for Realizing the Advanced Information Infrastructure Society

General (1) Expected role of government

Moves toward the advanced information infrastructure society should be led by the private sector as clearly stated in the National Information Infrastructure (NII) plan, while the role played by the government will be to supplement and reinforce the initiatives taken by the private sector. In other words, the advanced information infrastructure society will basically be materialized by users making active efforts to promote the introduction of information systems and by information-related industries supplying advanced products and services, in a diverse, advanced, and seamless network environment prepared by the private sector. Consequently, it is important that the government make efforts to promote the introduction of information systems in the public sector as one of the users of such systems, while at the same time making improvements to the environment so that the ingenuity and vitality of the private sector can be actualized to the maximum extent. With policies toward the realization of advanced information systems being promoted in various regions including the United States, Europe, and Asia, Japan should also push forward with such policies through international cooperation as occasion demands.

A- Promotion of information systems in the public sector

The public sector is a sphere where the government is one of the users of information systems, and at the same time is expected to make positive efforts to promote the introduction of information systems for the following reasons.

a. Promotion of information systems in the public sector is expected to have a major effect on the upgrading of education and research and the improvement of administrative services. However, this sector greatly lags behind in the introduction of advanced information systems compared with private sector.

b. With the dawn of the advanced information infrastructure society, high-quality contents including data bases and advanced services will need to be provided through information systems. The government possesses vast information resources including administration-related data and bibliotheca in libraries, and at the same time is the main body for furnishing such essential services as education, medical and welfare services. Thus the government is expected to play an important role as a supplier of contents and services in the information society.

c. Since the public sector has a many-faceted relationship with the activities of the private sector, the introduction of information systems in the public sector will have a major impact on the introduction of such systems in the private sector. (For example, promoting paperless applications, etc. through the promotion of advanced information systems in the administrative area will serve as a strong driving force for the realization of a paperless environment in the private sector.)

B- Improvement of environment for promotion of information systems in the private sector

The government is expected to actively tackle improvement of the environment to allow the ingenuity and vitality of the private sector to be actualized toward promoting the introduction of information systems. The main areas involved are as follows:

a. Computer security measures
b. Promotion of standardization
c. Review of various systems in response to the progressive introduction of information systems
d. Protection of intellectual property rights and facilitating reuse of intellectual properties

C- Improvement of environment for providing high-grade contents and applications

Needless to say, the government is not the only body providing contents and applications for the information society. The supply of a diverse assortment of contents and applications based on the ingenuity and innovativeness of the private sector is also important, and improvement of the environment for this purpose is a crucial political task to be performed by the government.

D- Improvement of environment including deregulation for enhancement of telecommunications infrastructures

As mentioned earlier, it is desirable that a compound telecommunications infrastructure environment be materialized where a variety of telecommunications infrastructures making maximum use of the fruits of technical innovation are provided to users, in a situation of constant competition over functions and costs in response to diverse needs in each area of the industrial and household sectors. For this purpose, it is considered to be of the greatest importance that the government, through deregulation in telecommunications, broadcasting, and other areas, create an environment in which private enterprises improve telecommunications infrastructures in a competitive situation. (Concrete steps toward deregulation are currently being studied by the Administrative Reform Promotion Headquarters and the Telecommunications Council.)

(2) Necessity of integrated and systematic policy development

The policies mentioned in (1) above involve various ministries and agencies. Hence, for the integrated and systematic implementation of such policies, it is necessary that the related ministries and agencies together formulate a nonpartisan integrated political plan regarding the promotion of information systems in Japan, and that a structure be established in which each ministry and agency pushes forward these policies through mutual cooperation in line with this plan.

Information Technology in Five Public Sectors As already mentioned, the promotion of information systems in the public sector is of great significance in realizing the advanced information society in Japan.

This is a sphere in which the government, as the so-called mainstay of the introduction of information systems, should make active efforts from a long-term viewpoint. At present, a concrete action program formulated taking the future outlook into account is being carried out in five areas: education, research, medical and welfare services, administration, and electronic libraries. This program, with funding from the supplementary FY1993 budget for specific policy in FY1994, is being implemented through close cooperation among the National Diet Library, the Management and Coordination Agency, the Science and Technology Agency, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health and Welfare, and other ministries and agencies.

The following is a detailed description of the future outlook and concrete steps which are being taken in each area.

[1] Education

(1) Outlook The rapid progress of information technology, such as the advancements made in computer technology represented by multimedia, and the development of networking has the potential to open up new prospects for education and learning beyond the traditional framework.

A- Realization of active study

By taking maximum advantage of the advanced functions of computer software and networks, such learning activities as identifying and analyzing subjects to study and expressing the results may become more advanced and active, and the capabilities of learners including their creative, intellectual, and expressive powers may be dramatically enhanced.

a. Realization of advanced intellectual activities
Through the use of advanced tools including computer software which can visually display complicated simulations and groupware which effectively supports collaborative work, great progress can be realized in educational and learning activities.

b. Realization of advanced styles of expression
The ability to freely use advanced information technology will allow easy handling of various types of information including static and moving images, computer graphics, music, voice, character data, etc., making it possible to express the fruits of education and study employing a variety of techniques as well as to dispatch information more widely via networks.

B- Realization of education and study transcending restrictions imposed by traditional classroom teaching

The substantial improvement in information processing, gathering and dispatching capacities through computers and networks will permit the following new developments in education and study, transcending the various restrictions imposed by traditional teaching in classrooms.

a. Access to worldwide information
Access to electronic libraries, electronic art galleries, electronic museums, statistical data bases, and news information sources located throughout the world will be accomplished, and in a similar manner to teaching materials currently at hand, desired information will be able to be searched, retrieved, and used as materials for study.

b. Real-time access
Real-time observation and experience of natural and social phenomena throughout the world will be made possible, and intellectual experiences will be available as if the user were actually present at the scene.

c. Remote education
Two-way telecommunications will permit education to be offered even outside the classroom, or so-called remote education. In other words, it will be possible to attend lectures delivered in different locations and there will be a remarkable increase in educational opportunities for students in various learning environments. This, in turn, will offer chances for a wide range of lifelong studies. In addition, discussions on social and economic problems, language practice, joint experimental events, and the holding of joint events will become possible through direct telecommunications with schools and students throughout the world.

d. Virtual experiential study
Advanced computer software will allow the realization of education and study based on virtual experiences including, for example, historical experiences, virtual social experiences by simulation, and experiences of future trip such as tours inside the human body and space trips.

(2) The status quo and direction of concrete measures

In the United States, the National Research and Education Network (NREN) program is being promoted through mutual cooperation among federal agencies as a plan for the improvement of computer networks in the areas of research and education, based on the High Performance Computing (HPC) Act. The necessity of improving networks and developing related technology in the areas of research and education, as well as the development and dissemination of applications, is also stated in the NII initiative. In this way, efforts are being made to open up new opportunities for education and study beyond the traditional framework of teaching in classrooms and to realize active study.

A- Realization of active education and study

The status quo
In order to accomplish advanced intellectual activities and expressions by students, efforts should be made to develop and supply high-quality educational computer software and to foster the information processing capabilities of teachers. In Japan, full-scale education in the information field has recently been inaugurated through the introduction of new courses of study announced in 1989.

a. The intensive introduction of computers in primary schools and junior and senior high schools has been carried out in accordance with a 5- year plan from 1990 established by the Ministries of Education and the Ministry of Home Affairs. At present, while the number of students per computer averages 19.2 in the United States (as of the end of 1991, according to a survey conducted by Dun & Bradstreet), the equivalent figure in Japan is 38.6 (as of the end of 1992, according to a survey conducted by the Ministry of Education).

b. While the volume of educational software existing in the United States totals 15,000 titles, Japan has a dramatically lower volume of 2,500 titles (according to a survey conducted by the Center for Educational Computing), and the advanced functions of computers are underutilized.

c. Although efforts have been made to improve the information processing capabilities of teachers through teacher training activities carried out by the Ministry of Education, etc., the ratio of teachers who can provide instruction on computers is still only 11.3% at present, and especially in primary schools this figure drops to 5.9% (as of the end of 1992, according to a survey conducted by the Ministry of Education).

As described above, Japan lags behind in the preparation of an environment suitable for carrying out education using computers, and the fruits of information technology development are not being sufficiently utilized in the education field.

Concrete measures for FY1994
The Ministry of International Trade and Industry will set up the "Educational Software Development and Utilization Center" in the Information-Technology Promotion Agency (IPA), and will take the following measures in order to develop and provide high-quality software needed for the purpose of realizing active education and study.

(a) Development and supply of software to support intellectual activities At the center, such advanced computer software as following will be developed and compiled into data bases so that software developers, teachers and students may extensively retrieve and take maximum advantage of such resources.

- Advanced computer software to allow interactive study
- Computer software with user interfaces that can be easily used in educational facilities
- Computer software which enables more advanced intellectual activities through so-called groupware, supporting collaborative study and decision-making and various types of simulation
- Computer software to handle and analyze diverse types of information

(b) Development of software for presentations using computers Computer software (authoring tools) permitting editing and manipulation of video images, photos, word-processed data, and graphics will be developed for a wide range of users, from beginners to advanced users. Authoring booths will be set up and made widely available where a variety of materials including those stored in the center can be edited and manipulated, allowing desired teaching materials and data to be freely prepared by taking maximum advantage of the software resources.

The Ministry of International Trade and Industry in its turn will actively cooperate in the following measures taken by the Ministries of Education and Home Affairs.

(a) Promotion of allocation of educational computers based on new plan

The Ministries of Education and Home Affairs will carry out the systematic introduction of computers by rental or leasing arrangements, with the aim of allocating 22 computers per primary school, 42 computers per junior high school, 8 computers per school of special education, and 42 computers per senior high school offering general courses, over a period of roughly six years up to 1999.

The Ministry of International Trade and Industry will cooperate in promoting the allocation of these computers through the low-interest loan system of the Japan Development Bank to educational computer rental businesses.

(b) System to assign information technology engineers to prefectural boards of education

The Ministries of Education and Home Affairs will implement a system in 1994 to assign information technology engineers as temporary lecturers for the training of teachers to prefectural boards of education, as a means of promoting information-related education.

The Ministry of International Trade and Industry will cooperate in the smooth execution of this system by providing information concerning information technology engineers to prefectural boards of education through the Center for Educational Computing.

B- Realization of education and study transcending restrictions imposed by conventional classroom teaching

The status quo
In the United states, an educational program called K-12 (kindergarten through 12th grade) utilizing computers and networks, intended for children attending kindergarten through primary school, junior high school, and senior high school, is being developed across the country. For example, activities under The Boulder Valley Internet Project have been implemented since 1993 for an initial period of three years by the University of Colorado in cooperation with schools in the Boulder Valley district. In this project, new educational methods taking maximum advantage of Internet are being studied and educational curricula are being created accordingly.

In addition, various other initiatives and experimental projects are being carried out. Such projects include real-time information exchanges between the Nile Expedition and schools; supply of data about historic books stored in museums through Internet; access to information such as real-time pictures of the ocean depths taken by remote-control submarine, organized by the Montley Aquarium; and videos of lectures provided via network by the California State Institute of Technology, which can be watched at home (Virtual University).

In Japan on the other hand, although the introduction of computers in schools has been steadily promoted according to the computer allocation plan of the Ministry of Education, connections outside schools utilizing the computer network have only been executed for experimental purposes in a very limited number of schools.

Concrete measures for FY1994
The Ministry of International Trade and Industry, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, will carry out the following model operations in the "Educational Software Development and Utilization Center" to demonstrate the feasibility of realizing new educational and study methods as a result of the progress of information technology.

a. Creation of model environment for education and study using computer networks A technical environment which enables education, study and interchanges taking maximum advantage of networks will be provided in roughly 100 educational institutions such as primary schools and junior and senior high schools. This will involve the installation of workstations and personal computers in these institutions which will be linked with the center via a network, allowing access to the data bases of the center and the reciprocal circulation of information between schools mutually connected via the network. Furthermore, these institutions will be able to gain access to and dispatch information throughout the world.

The ministry will also support plans independently made by individual schools using such a network.

b. Development and supply of necessary software for computers for educational use Software with user interfaces that allow easy searching and retrieval as well as dispatch of information through international networks will be developed.

In addition, the center will compile materials which can be used in the production of teaching materials and other data into data bases, and will make these data bases widely available.

[2] Research (1) Outlook

The following new developments in research will be targeted in an environment where the promotion of information systems in the research area has progressed in the future, through the establishment of centers with strong computing capabilities, enhancement of distributed processing capacity in which these centers tackle problems in cooperation with each other, and the construction of high-speed networks which allow a wide range of researchers to gain access to the centers.

A- Upgrading of research through ultra-high-performance computers

Accompanying the progress of computer technology, methods of conducting research have evolved from activities centering around tests by trial and error to activities consisting of modeling and simulation on computers.

It is well known that the method of measuring the impact of air resistance on aircraft and automobiles in motion has changed from the traditional types of tests, involving placing clay models inside a wind tunnel, to computerized modeling and simulation. Massively parallel computers and other leading-edge technologies appearing today will break through the limits of computing performance which traditional computers have been subject to, and will allow activities that have been impossible up to now using traditional research techniques. These will include predicting the physical properties of compounds by simulating their behavior on an atomic or molecular level, designing the optimum conditions for nuclear fusion, and elucidating the causes of diseases through analyses of various types of genetic code.

B- Enhancing the efficiency of research by sharing intellectual stock

The improvement of data bases containing the results of research activities, including test results and information on chemical properties, gene, etc., and the upgrading of retrieval methods, will allow researchers to share intellectual stock and greatly improve the efficiency of research.

At the same time, data from large-scale tests such as data sent from earth observation satellites will be widely accessible to researchers via high-speed networks. This will expand the possibility of new discoveries, compared to the present situation in which analyses are performed by only a limited number of researchers. It is also expected to become feasible for researchers in remote locations to gain access to large-scale facilities for researching space and nuclear physics, particle accelerators, and so on, allowing them to conduct remote tests and make analyses of the results at ultra-high-performance computer bases.

C- Acceleration of progress of computer technology

Researchers are sophisticated computer users who employ this technology freely in the most advanced manner. For a number of years now, mainly American researchers have indicated directions for the development of computer technology and promoted its progress as pioneering users of computers. In Japan as well, it is hoped that the promotion of information systems in the field of research will accelerate the development of computer network technology, and that the upgrading of information systems will be achieved throughout the country.

(2) The status quo and direction of concrete measures

In the United States, the introduction of information systems in research has been promoted under the High Performance Computing & Communication (HPCC) plan, which is being implemented with the mutual cooperation of many agencies and state organizations including the Departments of Defense, Energy, and Commerce; the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); the National Science Foundation (NSF); the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA); and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This plan is advancing the development and utilization of ultra-high- performance computers, the promotion of technical development activities related to networks, and the improvement of infrastructures for gaining access to these networks.

A- Research and introduction of ultra-high-performance computers

The status quo
In the United States, the establishment of supercomputer centers has been promoted for some time now with the financial cooperation of NSF. Furthermore, under the HPCC plan, research on the most advanced ultra- high-performance computers has been promoted by the Department of Defense, NSF, etc., resulting in the introduction of ultra-high- performance models including massively parallel computers at the Departments of Defense and Energy, EPA, NASA, NIH, and so on. These computers are intended to be used for research of basic software and simulation, etc. in research fields as molecular biology, energy, aviation and space, environmental issues, and so on. In the United States, research activities taking maximum advantage of computer simulations, etc. are already established in the field of computational science.

In Japan on the other hand, as pointed out in the previous report of the Industrial Structure Council, the number of organizations in which supercomputers had been introduced was very limited at that time; for example, only eight universities (10 machines) among the country's 98 national universities. Thus, it has been fairly difficult to challenge innovative scientific technologies by freely using advanced software.

Ultra-high-performance computers will be the key to new research and development in the future. With the appearance of various types of such computers, including the vector type, the massively parallel type, and the cluster type in which multiple computers are linked, it is necessary to systematically create an environment where they can be utilized without restriction.

It is also necessary to actively develop advanced software so as to enable such computers to be freely used. For this purpose, ultra- high- performance computers such as supercomputers should be allocated to as many research institutes as possible in a large number of ministries and agencies.

Concrete measures for FY1994
a. Appropriations were approved in the supplementary budget for fiscal 1993 for the introduction of 11 supercomputers, of which three cases concerned the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (one supercomputer allocated to the Research Information Processing System (RIPS) Center of the Agency of Industrial Science and Technology, and two allocated to the Angstrom Technology Partnership). Moreover, in six of the 11 cases, massively parallel computers, a new type of computer permitting easy future expansion of computing capacity, will be introduced for the first time in national organizations.

b. In 1994, 10 supercomputers are scheduled to be introduced in eight national organizations. At that time, such machines will have already been introduced in 14 national universities, and 18 machines in organizations for the joint use of universities.

c. In addition, the development of ultra-high-performance computers and software for the future is planned under the Real World Computing Program being undertaken by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry.

B- Networks for research

The status quo
With regard to research information networks in the United States, NSF net (currently NREN) and Internet have shown remarkable growth and the United States is far more advanced than Japan in terms of the speed of trunk networks and management structure. At the same time, a study of gigabit-class networks required for remote tests and access to ultra- high-performance computer centers is under way at five centers: AUROLA, BLANCA, CASA, NECTAR and VISTANET. In these centers, research and development is being conducted on access to supercomputers, protocols for ultra-high-speed networks, switching technologies including ATM, interconnection with local area networks, advanced image processing, simulation software, and so on.

Japan lags far behind in the area of networks for research, even in the construction of megabit-class networks. At the time when the previous report was issued by the Industrial Structure Council, closed networks between research institutes, vertically divided according to individual ministries, were being operated separately. Moreover, the speed of telecommunications lines was extremely slow, ranging from several tenths to several hundredths the speeds available in the United States. And with regard to LANs in research institutes, basic networks had been set up in only five of the country's 98 national universities.

Furthermore, almost no studies had been conducted on ultra-high-speed networks of the gigabit class.

In order that papers and research data can be circulated freely to increase the efficiency of research, institutional measures should be taken to allow free access to state-owned data bases and at the same time, the construction of data bases and improvement of data base search and retrieval software such as MOSAIC (University of Illinois) and GOPHER (University of Minnesota) should be promoted.

Concrete measures for FY1994
a. A research information network discussion group has been inaugurated under the auspices of the Scientific Technology Conference Policy Planning Committee and cooperation has been realized regarding the networks of research-related agencies, mainly centering around the Science and Technology Agency, with participation also by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry. Based on a proposal of this discussion group, an appropriation request has been included in the national budget bill for fiscal 1994 to promote an "Inter-Ministerial Research Information Network," which will connect research institutes beyond the boundaries of research domains, ministries and agencies, and even countries.

With the realization of a trunk line having a maximum transmission speed of 6 Mbps in this "Inter-Ministerial Research Information Network", as well as a trunk line of the same speed in the "Science Information Network" to be financed in the 1994 budget, circuits of a speed roughly one digit higher than in the past will be established for research networks.

b. Regarding LANs in research institutes, as of the beginning of 1993 there were five universities in Japan equipped with LANs. Upon the completion of improvements financed by the supplementary budget for fiscal 1993 and the national budget bill for 1994, LANs will have been set up in 97 national universities and 10 organizations for the joint use of universities. This will cover all national universities except one and all organizations for the joint use of universities except four, which are planning to relocate their facilities. In other research institutes, progress has been made in improving LANs funded by appropriations in the supplementary budget for fiscal 1993, including a gigabit-class LAN linking research institutes in the Tsukuba Science City area under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of International Trade and Industry's Agency of Industrial Science and Technology, and a LAN linking research institutes under the jurisdiction of the Science and Technology Agency.

c. For research in fields where gigabit-class networks and computer technology such as supercomputers are organically connected, the Ultra- highspeed Network and Computer Technology Laboratories has been established with investments by the Japan Key Technology Center and the private sector, and has recently begun research activities.

[table 5 deleted: Gigabit testbeds in the United States]

[3] Medical and welfare services (1) Computerization of medical services

A- Outlook

The computerization of medical services plays a highly important role in providing people with high-grade medical treatment corresponding to changes in the medical care environment, represented by people's increasing medical needs and the aging of the population. The services and systems described below have already reached a technically feasible level and may be realized shortly. For the future, the development of new applications is expected in which mass super-fine medical images will be transmitted and treatments will be provided based on three- dimensional analyses of medical data by doctors in cooperation with technicians stationed at computer centers, accompanying the progress of high-speed bulk transmission technology.

a. Mutual exchange of medical information via networks

Technically, the mutual exchange of medical information such as image information on patients' examination data, computerized axial tomography has been made possible between medical institutions through the current communication infrastructure. As a result, people throughout the country will have universal access to high-level treatment in local hospitals or at their home through the cooperation between local doctors and medical specialists in advanced urban hospitals with a system which enables the expertise of such specialists to be effectively utilized.

In addition, the realization of advanced medical services is expected in which information and medical images related to individual case and histories are integrally stocked and managed historically, making full use of various media including IC cards, optical cards, and magneto- optical disks. In such a situation, the appropriate therapies can also be provided in different hospitals using these media. (Field tests using magneto-optical disks have been conducted at the National Cancer Center.)

b. Remote health care at home

It is becoming possible for basic health data on individuals, including their body temperature and pulse rate, to be automatically transmitted to hospitals via a network so that doctors can be aware of their patients' health conditions and can provide remote health counseling as required without the need for patients to visit hospital. (At Seitetsu Kinen Hospital in Kamaishi City, individual health data are transmitted to the hospital and doctors make examinations utilizing the CATV network). The dissemination of these systems will further activate the progress of preventive medical treatment.

c. Improvements in therapy support systems

More advanced medical services will materialize with the improvement of advanced medical databases and the development and dissemination of systems, including expert systems, that support doctors' diagnoses.

As the importance of controlling information on pharmaceuticals will increase in the future, databases to prevent side effects and reciprocal actions of medicines are expected to be constructed and used by dispensing pharmacies in various areas.

B- The status quo and direction of concrete measures

a. Mutual exchange of medical information via networks

The status quo
In the United States, a system is being established in which, by transmitting charts and X-ray images between hospitals, local doctors can consult medical specialists and provide medical treatment making use of the latest expertise and technology.

In addition, there are cases where for the prescription of drugs, an examination can be made concerning those medicines combined use of which is prohibited, etc. using a database on the side effects of medicines.

In Japan, however, the transmission of medical information is only conducted for experimental purposes in some areas, and measures should therefore be taken to disseminate this practice. The current Medical service law and other regulations interpret that medical image information, including computerized axial tomography, should basically be preserved in its original form. Provided that appropriate security can be maintained, however, the storage of such information by means of electronic media is permitted and systematic improvements for the exchange of medical information are under way. In the future, it will be necessary to execute model operations, to ensure compatibility and the standardization of transmission methods so as to allow the exchange of information between different information systems.

Concrete measures for FY1994
(a) Model operations in which medical image information is exchanged using high-definition satellite communications, etc. have been undertaken in cooperation with the Ministry of Health and Welfare since 1993. (In 1993, such operations were implemented at the Aomori Prefectural Chuo Hospital, the Aomori Prefecture Kokuho Ohma Hospital, and the Mutsu City Polyclinic.)

(b) Model operations in which medical image information is exchanged between hospitals using exclusive line will be undertaken in cooperation with the Ministry of Health and Welfare from 1994.

b. Remote health care at home

The status quo
In the United States, it is already possible to receive medical treatment and health counseling at home by means of interactive TV, etc. A system has been established in which health care data are automatically sent from households to hospitals on a periodic basis, and advice is automatically provided when the condition of a disease may possibly be deteriorating.

In Japan, there are some examples of experiments on telemedicine having been conducted in some areas, but no measures have been taken to verify the reliability of such systems nor to disseminate them. Hence, measures should be taken in the future to diffuse such systems after confirming their reliability, etc.

c. Improvements in therapy support systems

The status quo
In the United States, advanced medical databases have been prepared and therapy support systems have also been constructed, in which possible diseases can be indicated in the order of probability by inputting information on patient's medical conditions. It is expected that these systems will be used as clinical and medical education system in the future.

In Japan, no such system has been realized yet on a practical level. As a result, it is necessary to tackle various issues so as to develop these systems, including improving medical databases, conducting verification tests of such systems, and introducing them at medical treatment sites. Meanwhile, improvements have been gradually made to databases for pharmaceuticals, and efforts should be made to further upgrade their contents and to provide them to medical treatment sites.

Concrete measures for FY1994
Databases both for those medicines combined use of which is prohibited and for general drugs will be improved in cooperation with the Ministry of Health and Welfare, and to construct a system that can provide widely to medical treatment field through personal computer network hosted by the Medical Information System Development Center from 1994.

(2) Computerization of welfare services

A- Outlook

It is considered that in the future, it will become increasingly important to create environments in which both aged people in sound health as well as physically handicapped people can actively participate in society and lead a vital life, and also to establish a structure where those aged and physically handicapped people who are found to require nursing may be given satisfactory nursing at home. In particular, with a predicted decline in home nursing capacity owing to such factors as a decrease in population of productive age, an expansion of small families, and an increase in the number of working women, mitigating the burden of nursing will be a serious issue. As described below, it is expected that information processing technology will be used in response to these issues.

a. Telecommuting welfare services using networks
As a result of the improvement of networks to be established between various types of local welfare facilities and households, it will become possible to catch the psychological and physical condition of the aged by carrying on frequent dialogues with them taking advantage of interactive communications including video, without the need for a specialist to visit their home. Thus, carefully prepared telecommuting welfare services, not limited to physical nursing, will be realized.

b. Safe and comfortable residences for the aged
The dissemination of residences with built-in advanced nursing equipment will enable those who need nursing to live a life in which they receive the least nursing possible, and will greatly mitigate the burden on those who are responsible for nursing. In addition, emergency reporting systems providing automatic communications in an emergency will be diffused to assure the safety of aged people receiving telecommuting nursing.

c. Helping the aged to actively participate in society
Even aged people who have difficulty in going out will be able to join various community activities and hobby circles through personal computer networks that is easy for the aged to use. In this way, it will become possible for many aged people to actively participate in society and to live a meaningful life.

B- The status quo and direction of concrete measures

The status quo
In Japan, only limited efforts to promote computerization of welfare services are done and no advanced nursing system has yet been realized on a practical level. Moreover, the issue of helping aged and physically handicapped people to participate in society using information systems is only being tackled for experimental purposes by some self-governing bodies.

It is considered necessary in the future to implement research and development as well as model operations so as realize an advanced system on a practical level, and also to make efforts to disseminate these systems.

Concrete measures for FY1994
a. Helping the aged to participate in society
A "Mellow Society Plan" has been promoted to make the most of information systems, from the viewpoint of aiming at the active participation of aged people in society and the utilization of their accumulated experience and knowledge. In concrete terms, the following activities are being conducted:

- Surveys and research on information apparatus which may be easily operated even by aged people who are unfamiliar with such equipment.
- Surveys and research aimed at establishing model information systems in local communities, including such systems to help the aged participate in local communities through serving as volunteers and handing down traditional culture to young people.
- Operation of a personal computer network named "Mellow Net" designed for the aged.
- Dissemination and education by means of sponsoring symposiums and awarding commendations to enterprises for the development of information apparatus designed for the aged.

b. Research and development of advanced telecommuting nursing equipment system
In aiming at the improvement of telecommuting nursing, it is important not only to conform to regional characteristics and meet users' needs appropriately, but also to implement research and development of an advanced and comprehensive telecommuting nursing equipment system, taking the reciprocal interface of nursing equipment to be used into consideration. For this purpose, under the 3rd supplementary budget for 1993 FY, improvements will be realized for the "Welfare techno-house," comprising research facilities where the study of a comprehensive system will be promoted.

[4] Administrative services (1) Outlook

Computerization of the administrative area covers not only high-volume and fixed-form processing type jobs, but also a wide range of administrative office work and service areas. In the future, a situation as described below will evolve whereby the upgrading of administrative office work and services, not limited to merely increasing the efficiency of administrative work, will become possible in various administrative areas by using advanced information processing technology.

A- Access to public administrative information

Vast amounts of public information released by the government, including various white papers, statistics, reports, and public relations data, will be compiled into databases in a manner that facilitates easy retrieval. People will be able to gain easy access to public administrative information via networks without restrictions of time or place.

B- Efficient and advanced administration

In administrative agencies, not only the automation of administrative office work but also various other improvements will be realized, including the upgrading and expansion of databases, upgrading of business support systems including expert systems and groupware, and further upgrading of individual information systems which process high-volume routine work such as licenses. In addition, the integrated use of these systems via networks will make possible the development of an efficient and advanced administration system.

C- Paperless and automated administrative services

Applications for various types of approvals, licenses, and benefits will be made electronically, thus reducing the burden of work and reducing the time involved in the processing of various types of applications. Terminals that automatically accept such electronic administrative procedures will be installed in public facilities, railway stations, shopping districts, etc. and application procedures will be simplified under a one-stop service system, while people will be able to access these services via networks from his/her home. In this way, an environment in which people can receive administrative services whenever and wherever they want will be realized.

(2) The status quo and direction of concrete measures

As described below, Japan lags greatly behind in promoting the computerization of administrative services. For this reason, the government has decided to establish a 5-year "plan to promote administrative computerization" (tentative) in the 1994 basic principles of administrative reform, with the aim of systematically undertaking the computerization of administrative services in the medium term. Drafting work is now under way, implemented mainly by the Management and Coordination Agency.

The Ministry of International Trade and Industry is scheduled to take concrete measures as described below, with the expectation that these measures will contribute to the promotion of computerization of administrative services in the entire government under "the 5-year plan".

A- Access to public administrative information

The status quo
In the United States, public administrative information possessed by the federal government is promptly and widely made available through such networks as Internet. For example, a press release from the White House can be obtained throughout the world on the same day via Internet, and the proceedings of Congressional public hearings compiled into databases are also available via networks.

Furthermore, the Government Printing Office, which is responsible for printing data for official publication by administrative agencies, is obligated by law to provide these data electronically.

With regard to government databases, such large-scale databases as those of NASA and the National Library of Medicine (NLM), which have been established since the 1960s, have been opened to the public, while more than 2,500 databases have been prepared by the National Technology Information Service of the Department of Commerce, providing scientific and technological information on a widespread scale to the public. In such a manner, considerable progress has been made in opening administrative information databases to the public.

In Japan, although there are some cases in which certain governmental agencies furnish public relations data, etc. via personal computer communications, only a limited portion of the vast volume of administrative information released to the public is obtainable through various types of network. Moreover, the preparation of databases by administrative agencies is not sufficient and at the present time, only a little administrative information databases being provided to networks.

[figure deleted: Comparison between Japan and United States of public availability of administrative information by electronic means]

Concrete measures for FY1994
The Ministry of International Trade and Industry, in cooperation with related ministries and agencies, will establish a "New Industry Creation database Center" within the Information-Technology Promotion Agency (IPA) and will promote the compilation of administrative information into databases and their supply to the public.

a. Improvement of administrative information databases

(a) Improvement of governmental statistics databases

Wide-ranging use of governmental statistics in the private sector will be aimed at by compiling statistics that are classified and provided at present in units of city, town and village into databases with more detailed classifications (on a "chome" (city block or section) and "aza" (village section) basis), and making them available.

(Statistics covered)
- Statistics possessed by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (commercial statistics, industrial statistics, etc.)
- Statistics possessed by other ministries and agencies that will cooperate with MITI.

(b) Improvement of governmental bibliographic databases, etc.

Bibliographic information released by the government to the public will be extensively compiled into databases in cooperation with related ministries and agencies.

(Literature covered)
- White papers
- Governmental publications
- Reports of major councils
- Japan Industrial Standards

A structure for the compilation of white papers and other governmental publications to be issued in the future into databases will be built in cooperation with related ministries and agencies, by developing a system to convert electronic data for printing purposes into that for public relation purposes.

When compiling white papers, etc. into databases, priority will be given to the use of the SGML method, which is considered to be the data system that will become a future international standard for describing the structure of documents.

b. Supply via networks
Databases that have been built will be extensively furnished to the public through commercial value-added networks (VANs), public networks, Internet, etc.

B- Efficient and advanced administration

The status quo
Strong efforts have been made in the United States toward the computerization of administrative services, as seen in the passage of legislation mandating the reduction of paperwork through introduction of the administrative document processing system, the active introduction of computers into government operations, and targeted improvements in budgets and personnel levels in information-related areas. Japan, however, can be said to have lagged considerably behind in efforts toward computerization aimed at materializing efficient and advanced administration.

Concrete measures for FY1994
a. Efforts to improve local area networks (LANs) and respective ADP systems in each ministry and agency, including the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, showed great progress with the 1993 supplementary budgets.

b. It will be necessary in the future to build a structure in which each member of government staff has a computer connected to a LAN, the respective LANs in each ministry and agency are mutually linked, and integrated usage of information is realized among government organizations. For this purpose, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry will, under the plan to promote administrative computerization, introduce the information system which may serve as a model for other ministries and agencies, and will move forward to the computerization of administrative services.

C- Paperless and automated administrative services

The status quo
In the United States, the system has been introduced on practical level in Hawaii and California, through which residents can directly obtain various types of information concerning local administrative services from terminals so called electronic kiosks, installed in shopping malls, etc. In addition, the system which allows residents to apply for child allowances via terminals installed inside government buildings is in actual operation.

In the meanwhile, it has also been proposed at the federal government level that social security, unemployment insurance, food stamps, etc. should be made available electronically via the National Information Infrastructure (NII).

In Japan, at the level of local self-governing bodies, an increase has been seen in the number of such bodies that have set up machines for automatically issuing residency certificates and certificates of personal seal impressions. These machines are installed not only inside local government buildings but also in public buildings such as libraries. In this way, measures have gradually been taken for the upgrading and automation of administrative services. With regard to the realization of paperless administrative services, advanced cases include the paperless application system to the Japan Patent Office and a similar system for import procedures.

Concrete measures for FY1994
The Ministry of International Trade and Industry has prepared advanced systems including the paperless patent application system, and by improving these systems will further build a structure which may serve as a model of computerization for other ministry and agency.

[5] Libraries (Electronic libraries) (1) Outlook

Although a vast and diverse range of intellectual resources exist in the world, people have not been able to easily access them as common resources of mankind because such resources have traditionally been collected and stored in libraries in various locations in the form of books, etc.

However, with the construction of electronic libraries having the functions described below, thanks to the recent progress in information processing technology and network technology, it is now technically feasible to create an environment in which all of the intellectual resources distributed around the world may be used as a base of knowledge for individual use.

A- Access to libraries around the world via networks

Information (literature, picture, video, sound recordings, etc.) will be electronically stored, and users will be permitted to gain access from their home or school, etc. to such information stored in libraries throughout the world.

B- Advanced retrieval functions

Users will be able to obtain information easily by means of advanced retrieval techniques, which allow retrieval even with ambiguous instructions or when it is unknown in which library the required literature, etc. is located.

C- Storage of wide range of personal creative works and their supply to the public

Works created by individuals, which it has not been possible to publish so far due to financial or other reasons, will be able to be stored and supplied to the public.

(2) The status quo and direction of concrete measures

A- Construction of library networks

The status quo
In order to retrieve literature, etc. via network in an electronic library, first it is necessary for information on the bibliography and location of each library's bibliotheca to already be in circulation. In the United States, networks such as OCLC (Online Computer Library Center), RLG (Research Libraries Group) and WLN (Western Library Network) have been constructed. Almost all of the country's public and university libraries are connected through these networks, allowing the retrieval of information on the bibliography and location of each library's bibliotheca. In Japan, more than 300 libraries, mainly belonging to universities, are connected to the National Center for Science Information Systems with the aim of building an integrated national list of scientific literature and making inter-library loans more efficient, and information on bibliographies and locations is in circulation. But with regard to networks linking public libraries in various locations, however, no national network has yet been constructed although local networks have been built in some areas.

The primary causes for this situation include delays in introducing computers to libraries and the fact that no integration of bibliographic information prepared by individual libraries has been realized, so that as a result, no base for the circulation of information on bibliographies and locations has been established yet. (In the United States, US MARC is universally used, while in Japan, there are JAPAN MARC, private MARC, etc. so bibliographic information databases have been constructed by respective libraries in a manner not permitting common reciprocal use.)

Concrete measures for FY1994--Promotion of integrated bibliography networking

The Ministry of International Trade and Industry will carry out "pilot electronic library system operations" within the Information- Technology Promotion Agency, Japan (IPA) in cooperation with the National Diet Library, the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture, the Ministry of Home Affairs, and the Science and Technology Agency, in consideration of the National Diet Library's plan to construct full-scale electronic libraries in the early 21st century and on the premise of the electronic library functions mentioned above.

As a part of this project, the following operations will be undertaken to circulate information on bibliographies.

Operations will be undertaken to allow circulation of information on bibliographies and locations as the first step toward building a system in which libraries across the country will be connected via network, thus making on-line access possible.

- Determination of a common format for information on the bibliography and location of public libraries on a national level.
- By compiling information on bibliographies and locations into a database based on this format and connecting libraries with each other, a pilot operation will be undertaken to create an environment where data can be integrally retrieved regarding in which library desired information can be found.

(Participating and cooperating libraries)
More than 20 libraries including the National Diet Library, the Chiba Prefectural Seibu Library, the Tokyo Municipal Central Library, the Kanagawa Prefectural Library, the Aichi Prefectural Library in the Aichi Art and Culture Center, etc.

B- Construction of electronic library system

The status quo
For the purpose of realizing an electronic library, it is essential not only to achieve networking of libraries but also to upgrade storage and retrieval functions by means of technological development and field tests concerning the storage and retrieval of literature, etc.

At present in the United States, as an experiment for actualizing an electronic library, the University of California is conducting tests at its nine campuses (Berkeley, UCLA, UCSF, etc.) to circulate the contents of electronically stored literature via network. In addition, a study of retrieval techniques is under way in the CORE project, which is mainly being conducted by Cornell University, and the Mercury project of Carnegie-Mellon University.

In Japan, trial research and development of an electronic library, including the construction of databases, is under way at the National Center for Science Information Systems. In addition, the National Diet Library and other institutions are promoting a basic survey and research on the functions of electronic libraries. Further such studies will be required in an attempt to build an electric library system.

Concrete measures for FY1994--Construction of pilot electronic library system

As a part of the "pilot electronic library system operations," a pilot electronic library system which may serve as a model for a future electronic library will be built and the following operations will be undertaken.

a. Pilot operations for electronic storage of literature, etc. and access via network
Pilot operations to compile literature, etc. into databases after rendering them into electronic form and then to supply them both domestically and overseas will be realized to identify and solve demand- related and technical problems.

(Literature to be rendered into electronic form)
Literature, etc. possessed by the National Diet Library (books published in the Meiji era (1867-1912), materials on constitutional issues, rare classical books), magazines for which consent of the appropriate persons including publishing companies can be obtained, out-of-print books, etc.

b. Actual proof of use, retrieval and supply of data of electronic libraries
Research on user interfaces and field tests on conducting easy and effective retrieval and perusal using existing technologies will be carried out, and advanced technical development which allows more advanced retrieval and document processing will also be implemented as follows:

- Advanced retrieval technology Semantic retrieval (technology to analyze the meaning of retrieved words and retrieve literature containing synonyms and similar words)

Fuzzy retrieval (technology to retrieve the desired literature corresponding to fuzzy expressions input by the retriever)

- Document processing technology Automatic indexation (technology to automatically prepare an index from chapters and sections in literature)

- Display technology High-speed browsing technology (technology to allow high-speed turning of the pages of books indicated on the display)

3. Improvement of Environment for Realizing Advanced Information Society [1] Security measures In an advanced information society, malfunctions occurring in an information system including a computer system breakdown would have a social impact incomparably more serious than at present. For this reason, in order to realize such an advanced information society, both the government and the private sector are required to positively tackle security measures and to ensure the security and reliability of information systems. Particularly in an advanced information society, numerous computers are linked to networks. As a result, it is important to take measures against network-related invasions including attacks by hackers and computer viruses. Reflecting concerns that such damage may expand on an international scale through networks, OECD has already formulated information system security guidelines. It is necessary to continue to promote security measures through international cooperation.

(1) Implementation of measures to improve the security and reliability of information systems

Concrete measures for FY1994
A- So far, efforts have been made to improve the security of information systems by determining security measure standards for computer systems which can serve as a guideline for security measures taken by users of information systems, as well as by authorizing offices for providing security measures to operators of information processing services, and by diffusing system audits through the determination of system audit standards.

B- It will also be necessary from now on to strive for the dissemination and promulgation of such security measure standards more extensively, in response to the further expansion of social strata using information systems.

(2) Implementation of computer virus countermeasures

Concrete measures for FY1994
A- The Ministry of International Trade and Industry has taken the following computer virus countermeasures:

a. Determination and dissemination of computer virus countermeasures
The Ministry has worked hard to formulate and disseminate respective guidelines for information system users, system administrators, and software development administrators on what measures they can take both to prevent computer viruses and to deal with infection by a computer virus.

b. Computer virus damage report system
Efforts have been made to prevent the expansion of damage caused by computer viruses whereby the Information-Technology Promotion Agency (IPA), on receiving a report of such damage, identifies the damage and provides information to assist in recovering from the damage and preventing a recurrence.

c. Research and development
IPA has been continuing research and development of a system to detect the invasion of computer viruses and prevent infection, no matter what the type of virus, and of vaccine software to identify and remove computer viruses as well as to analyze their composition.

d. International cooperation
As a member of the European Institute for Computer Anti-virus Research (EICAR), an international anti-computer virus body composed of European and American enterprises, universities, and state organizations, IPA has been participating in exchanges of information on new types of computer viruses, exchanges of vaccine software, and studies of computer virus countermeasures.

B- In the future, these measures will be further promoted and international cooperation will be encouraged in research and development as required.

(3) Responses based on criminal legislation against hackers and input of computer viruses

A- In line with the changing modes of criminal acts through the use of computers, accompanying the progress of computerized information processing, a partial revision was made to the Criminal Law Act in 1987 which added provisions specifying punishments for the following new criminal acts related to computers:

a. Illegal creation or destruction of magnetic records
b. Interference in the execution of duties by damaging computers, etc.
c. Fraud carried out by means of computer

B- Although a significant portion of unauthorized access to computer systems and the input of computer viruses can be controlled by the criminal legislation described above, some categories of acts still exist to which such legislation may not be applicable. Regarding these acts, it is indispensable to conduct numerous detailed studies from various angles including what types of deterrent measures can be counted on, such as security measures other than punishment; from what perspective grounds for criminal punishment should be identified; and the actual circumstances of illegality in establishing criminal legislation.

[2] Promotion of standardization in the area of information In order for an advanced information society to be realized, it is necessary to create an environment where information apparatus is linked to networks so that users may freely exchange and retrieve any information using them, and also where information processing is possible using linked multiple computers.

For this purpose, information apparatus should be linked to networks to enable the interchange of signals and in addition, various forms of standardization to secure the mutual operability of information systems on each level are required. These include standardization in relation to data contents such as numeric, character, image, and voice data (represented by Electric Data Interchange: EDI); standardization in relation to necessary data formats for accessing databases and exchanging data; and standardization of the interface of the operating system (OS) of computers connected for combined information processing. Internet has diffused worldwide by ensuring mutual operability of information systems on most of the necessary levels, not limiting itself to the mere exchange of signals.

When promoting standardization in the area of information, excessive governmental intervention in the market may hinder technical progress attainable through competition among enterprises. However, in cases where too many specifications exist compared to the differences in functions due to competition for market share, users may suffer from disadvantages and voluntary standardization among vendors may become difficult owing to the lack of mutual operability. In such cases, the government should create a structure for standardization and provide incentives for standardizing activities.

Information technology has been developing so rapidly that Japan should also actively participate in the establishment of international standards, considering the movements of Europe and the United States which are trying to build up new standards by themselves through de facto standards.

Concrete measures for FY1994
In March 1993, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry made a general presentation of items requiring standardization to the Open System Environmental Improvements Commission and other interested parties, in order to promote efforts toward standardization in the private sector, and has moved forward with standardization under EDI and OSI in conjunction with the Japan Information Processing Development Center. The Ministry will newly undertake a study of detailed items requiring standardization for the realization of an advanced information society in the future and of what concrete forms of governmental intervention are appropriate, taking recent domestic and overseas developments related to standardization into account.

[3] Review of various systems in response to the development of computerization The progress of information and communications technologies is generating unforeseen changes, including the development of a paperless and the fact that activities traditionally conducted face-to-face may now be carried out using networks. As illustrated below, a wide variety of existing systems do not presuppose this type of situation. As a result, a review of existing systems is deemed necessary so as to adapt them to an advanced information infrastructure society, for the purpose of developing computerization in the future. (At present, a study is being conducted by the Telecommunication Working Group, Administration Reform Task Force.)

(Reference) Examples of existing systems to be studied toward advanced information infrastructure society

(1) Allowing paperless accounting records for business transactions

According to the current tax laws document in accounting evidence, such as account books must be physically preserved for seven years. However, their preservation via electronic data media, including magnetic tapes and floppy disks, is not permitted due to the risk of data alteration and from the viewpoint of executing smooth tax inspections. On the other hand, business transactions produce a yearly volume of accounting records that must be preserved reportedly totaling 300 million sheets in the case of a major chain store, 15 million sheets for a large-scale manufacturer, and 5 million sheets even for a small or medium-sized manufacturer, thus imposing a major burden on enterprises.

Although they have different environments from Japan with respect to enforcement (the burden of proof, for example), some Western countries allow enterprises that meet specific conditions to preserve such account books via electronic data media, in order to harmonize the development of computerization while securing the reliability of records required for the taxation system. The conditions are that enterprises may be subjected to an audit of their system as well as their accounts, and that they will convert electronic data records into document form within an acceptable period when the tax authorities are to conduct an inspection, etc.

(2) Realization of paperless applications to government and public offices

Allowing applications to government and public offices to be made on- line or via electronic data media is essential not only to improve the convenience of applicants, but also to promote the computerization of administrative services.

From this point of view, the Patent Office has realized paperless patent applications and compiled patent-related information into databases since December 1990. During this time it has been making maximum use of computers in performing patent processing office work, from applications through to examinations, judgments, and registrations, as well as efficiently providing information to the private sector. At present, electronic applications account for 95% of the total patent application procedures. In other agencies, such as those dealing with customs clearance operations, Nippon Automated Cargo Clearance System called NACCS has been built by linking terminals of the customs and private operators on-line. This enables applications for import and export declarations to be made on-line, thereby speeding up customs clearance procedures. There are several other advanced examples of paperless applications, although generally speaking such applications are limited to very small areas so far.

(3) Medical treatment

Under the current laws, prescriptions required for dispensing drugs outside hospitals must bear a doctor's seal and the issuance of prescriptions on-line is not permitted. Some advanced hospitals in the United States are promoting the use of electronic charts, but in Japan, since charts are required to be preserved in their original form for technical reasons, the advantages of preparing charts electronically are not being utilized.

As the current laws are based on face-to-face treatment, diagnostic acts via communication between remote locations are not clearly positioned in the medical fee system except for medical counseling over the telephone by family doctors. Advanced medical services, in which advice from medical specialists of other hospitals may be provided through an information network, are not regarded as diagnostic acts for the purposes of the medical fee system.

(4) Sales

The Installment Sales Law stipulate the delivery of a document in which the contents of a contract are set forth. This document must be written on paper and delivery via network, including personal computer communications, is not permitted.

[4] Protection of intellectual property rights and facilitating reuse of intellectual property To cope with the realization of multimedia and digitalization, the following matters must be dealt with in an attempt to protect intellectual property rights in a proper manner and to facilitate the reuse of intellectual property.

(1) Study of how rights related to software should be protected in response to realization of multimedia

A- Facilitating use of existing works

With the progress made in realizing multimedia technology, it has become technically feasible to develop new multimedia software by processing and combining digitalized existing works including videos. This method of utilizing existing videos, etc. as materials may often be very useful for enhancing the efficiency of high-grade multimedia software development. As a consequence, it is necessary to protect the rights to existing videos, etc. properly and to facilitate their use at the same time.

In concrete terms, it is necessary to clarify the ownership of the rights to existing works which are to be used as materials, to establish rules for handling the rights to reuse works, and to set up a centralized rights management structure.

Concrete measures for FY1994
With regard to these issues, a policy has already been formulated whereby a concrete study will be conducted by a council to be set up within the Ministry of Education, with participation by related organizations of rightholders and producers, and the Ministry of International Trade and Industry will cooperate in the establishment and administration of this council.

B- Clarification of how multimedia software rights should be protected

Since multimedia software may often be produced by combining multiple works, as stated above, while at the same time it has combined attributes of works such as computer programs, videos, and music which are treated differently for the purposes of the Copyright Law, discussions should be held to clarify how to treat such software for the purposes of the Copyright Law.

Concrete measures for FY1994
B- study to clarify how to protect multimedia software rights began in June 1992 in the Copyright Council of the Ministry of Education. The Ministry of International Trade and Industry will endeavor in its turn to encourage open discussions by a broad range of interested people, and to reflect these in the discussions of the Copyright Council.

(2) Prevention of illegal duplication of software

A- Despite being protected under the Copyright Law, software is illegally duplicated due to the characteristic of digital property that duplication does not cause a deterioration in quality. This situation is causing problems. Illegal duplication is not only an infringement of the Copyright Law, but it also violates the rightful benefits of software developers and thus impedes their will to develop software. Therefore, the prevention of illegal duplication is an important issue in providing good-quality software.

B- To prevent unlawful duplication, strict enforcement of the Copyright Law is necessary, as well as raising the awareness of all users regarding this issue, and proper management of software by enterprises and others so as to prevent illicit duplication by employees, etc.

Concrete measures for FY1994
From the standpoint of aiming at the sound growth of the computer software market, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry will continue dissemination and educational activities targeted at users, and at the same time will study effective measures including the formulation of guidelines on software management methods which can serve as an index when institutional users, including enterprises, themselves tackle the prevention of illicit duplication.

C- Incidentally, it is stipulated by law that auditors of stock companies, except those capitalized at less than 1 billion yen, when submitting an auditor's report according to Article 281-3 of the Commercial Law, shall make known the facts should any "unlawful act or serious contravention of the laws and ordinances or the articles of association regarding the performance of duties by directors" be found. If illegal duplication is conducted by employees in relation to a company's business, the company shall also assume criminal responsibility under the Copyright Law. As a result, the existence of such illegal duplication is considered a "serious contravention" under the said Article.

Improvement of Environment for Providing High- Grade Contents and Applications In order for an advanced information society to be created, not only hardware including communications infrastructures and computers but also a variety of high-grade contents (information resources such as databases) and applications meeting the needs of various people are an important requirement. However, Japan has a problem in that up to now, contents and applications have not been adequately supplied as commodities in comparison with hardware. As a result, the preparation of an environment where contents and applications may be provided to the market to a sufficient degree is an essential future political task for realizing an advanced information society.

[1] Multimedia software (1) Significance of multimedia software

Multimedia software possesses highly effective powers of expression, appealing to the human senses of vision and hearing through voice and video. It therefore constitutes a highly important form of support for contents and applications in an advanced information society. Since multimedia software uses both sound and image, promoting the use and supply of such software involves the following issues which are different from the case of ordinary computer software.

A- Supply of advanced equipment and images serving as materials

For the creation and editing of multimedia software, studio and editing equipment with advanced functions are sometimes required and the construction of such equipment by the private sector itself is often difficult in circumstances where the market for multimedia software has not been fully established. Moreover, since images for use as materials have not been sufficiently stored yet, improvements in this area will be necessary from now on.

B- Fostering of creative personnel

Multimedia software offers a multitude of expressions combining images and sound with the help of the information technology. For the creation of such software, the fostering of personnel having creative ability of expression and a certain level of image information processing skill is important.

C- Handling with respect to intellectual property rights system

As mentioned earlier, multimedia software is often produced by combining existing image, sound, and other data, while at the same time its attributes as literary works are treated differently for the purposes of the Copyright Act, including computer programs, image, sound, etc. Therefore, some new form of handling will be required in the intellectual property rights system.

D- Cultivation of image information literacy

Since multimedia software is expected to also constitute a highly useful method for members of the general population to express themselves and dispatch information, individuals will need to become familiar with methods of using the new technologies and with skills of expression through images.

From the above standpoint, the promotion of various measures including the creation of "inter-media factory cities" as the core for production and dispatch of information and "information parks" in local communities were proposed by the New Visual Industry Discussion Group (presided over by the director of the Industrial Policy Bureau of the Ministry of International Trade and Industry) in March 1994 to enhance the capacity to supply multimedia software. Taking these proposals into account, the integrated development of the following measures will be promoted. (Refer to chapter 3 section [4] regarding the matter of intellectual property rights.)

Concrete measures for FY1994
a. Establishment of the Multimedia Centers (Marukomachi, Nagano Prefecture)
The Multimedia Center will be established by means of investments in the Information-Technology Promotion Agency (IPA). These centers will be equipped with production and editing facilities that will enable the processing of database and digital image information required for the production of multimedia software. In these centers, the following operations will be undertaken in concrete terms.

(a) Provision of opportunities to produce multimedia software and foster personnel
- Image-related enterprises will work together to produce and test advanced multimedia software including virtual reality software, and will endeavor to upgrade the skills of multimedia producers.
- Opportunities to produce multimedia software will be offered to multimedia producers consisting of students, young members of society, etc., to improve their skills. (Producers from the University of South Carolina and UCLA in the United States are scheduled to be accepted.)

(b) Construction of databases of multimedia materials
- Multimedia software databases will be prepared in order to allow image and sound information serving as materials for multimedia software production to be freely searched and retrieved, as well as storing produced software and making it available to others.

(c) Support for the Regional Multimedia Centers, etc.
- In order that the Regional Multimedia Centers (see below) and other multimedia-related facilities may fully perform their functions, image and sound information and multimedia software will be provided by Multimedia Center (situated in Marukomachi), and the training of managing staff as well as technical guidance will be provided in regional centers.

b. The Regional Multimedia Centers
Subsidies will be provided for the establishment of the Multimedia Centers operated by local self-governing bodies (in six locations throughout the country). These centers will endeavor to encourage the expanded use of multimedia and to promote multimedia on a regional basis by setting up facilities where local residents and enterprises, etc. may easily edit and produce multimedia software.

The actual operations carried out will be those that take maximum advantage of the unique capabilities of each local self-governing body. For example:

- A Regional Multimedia Center will be set up on the campus of a prefectural university (University of Aizu Fukushima Prefecture), and its utilization by university students, researchers and local enterprises will be promoted.
- A Regional Multimedia Center will be established in a prefectural museum (Gifu Museum), where hypermedia descriptions of the natural features of the region (descriptions of the natural features of the region using multimedia software) and educational multimedia software will be produced.

Main Operating Body and Location of the Regional Multimedia Centers

[Main Operating Body]                     [Location] 


Chitose Municipal Government,         In Chitose Airport terminal
  Hokkaido                              building 
Fukushima Prefectural Government      On campus of Prefectural 
                                        University of Aizu
Ueda Municipal Government,            Ueda City Multimedia 
  Nagano Prefecture                     Center to be newly constructed
Shizuoka Prefectural Government       In Hamanako institute of
                                        cooperation 
Gifu Prefectural Government           In Gifu Museum 
Toyama Prefectural Government         In Toyama General Information
                                        Center 

c. Regional promotion of information systems through multimedia information systems
The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries is scheduled to construct multimedia information systems in farming, mountain and fishing village regions as part of its agricultural structural reform activities. The Ministry of International Trade and Industry will cooperate through the development of software, etc.

d. Strengthening of bases for producing other multimedia software
In order to open up new frontiers of multimedia software, the private sector will be commissioned to produce interactive multimedia software in which computer graphics, etc. and large-sized high-definition images including "Hi-Vision" are linked.

In addition, opportunities to produce images will be offered to young people who will become leading figures in software production; image software locally planned according to the specific industries, technologies, and culture of each region will be produced in an attempt to foster personnel; and produced software will be compiled into databases to be used in the production of other software.

[2] Software (1) The status quo in Japan

In Japan, there is a lack of high quality software corresponding to advanced users' needs and of original software. The following can be listed as primary reasons for this situation.

A- Awareness of the merits of software has been insufficient in Japan. In addition to delays in the introduction of computers as a whole, the software market has been underdeveloped and insufficient resources including personnel, funding, and technology have been allocated to this field.

B- Creativity and an entrepreneurial spirit are considered to be necessary for the development of superior software. In Japan, however, there are various problems including the fact that generally speaking, it is difficult to foster creative personnel and difficult to successfully establish venture businesses. In the United States, on the other hand, there are many cases of original software being developed through a process whereby the creative ideas of researchers are embodied as original software, after which the software is evaluated and improved extensively by third parties and then commercialized. This type of environment has not been created in Japan.

(2) Concrete measures

For these reasons, the following measures will be comprehensively implemented to deal with such issues, and an environment will be created in which software incorporating abundant creativity can be provided.

A- Improvement of market environment

To heighten the motivation of software companies to develop products and ensure a supply of high-quality software that meets users' needs, basic market conditions should be established clarifying contractual relationships for the development of software and pricing policies should be formulated in which the merits of software products are rationally evaluated. From this point of view, a basic approach has recently been presented concerning appropriate contractual arrangements and prices for the development of software by the Information Industry Committee of the Industrial Structure Council. Taking the report of the committee into consideration, the following measures will be implemented.

Concrete measures for FY1994
a. A list of "main items to be included in software development contracts" embodying the contents of this report has recently been released and will be disseminated from now on.

b. In order to ensure the transparency of the software business, "Software Life Cycle Process - Japan Frame '94" as a common framework for system development business, which will serve as a standard for classifying system development processes and defining job descriptions that have varied with each vendor and user in the past, has recently been formulated and will be disseminated from now on.

c. To promote the introduction of a comprehensive bid evaluation system for governmental procurement of information systems and software, an evalu